Guilt-Free Festive Snacks

Guilt-Free Festive Snacks

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Most of us will attend a number of get-togethers throughout the holiday season. Though spending time with friends and family is good for the soul, it can often take a toll on the waistline.

 

By preparing healthier holiday snacks and appetizers, you can indulge in the flavors of the season without worrying about their after-effects. Whether you're attending large parties or simply looking for a quick treat to enjoy at home, these fast and flavorful snacks will surely satisfy your cravings.

 

Festive Winter Salad

 

This tart and flavorful holiday salad features an assortment of seasonal ingredients, including endive, avocado, and cranberries. For a slightly sweeter version of the salad, opt for romaine lettuce and yellow apples instead of green apples and endive.

 

Time: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

- 5 medium heads of endive, cut into 1-inch circles

- 1 green apple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

- 1/2 avocado, cut into 1-inch cubes

- 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries

- 1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

- 2/3 cup defrosted corn kernels

- 2 juiced lemons and 1/2 lemon

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 1 teaspoon sea salt

- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

 

Instructions:

1.) Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Set this bowl aside.

2.) Place the endive and apples in a large serving bowl. Using the 1/2 lemon, squeeze lemon juice onto the apples and endive; this will prevent browning.

3.) Add the avocado, cheese, corn, and cranberries to the salad.

4.) Before serving, pour the lemon-oil dressing over the salad. Toss it and enjoy!

 

Spicy Chili Popcorn

 

On a cold winter night, nothing could be more satisfying than munching on this spicy popcorn. Featuring chili, garlic, cayenne pepper, and more, this guilt-free snack is a savory and buttery indulgence.

 

Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 8 cups of popped popcorn

 

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels

- 3 tablespoons of butter

- 1 tablespoon of chili oil

- 2 teaspoons of grape seed oil

- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin

- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika

- 1/2 teaspoon of salt

 

Instructions:

1.) Set a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. In this pan, heat the grape seed and chili oils.

2.) Add a small amount of popcorn to the pan. Once the first kernel pops, add the remaining kernels to the pain. Shake the pan so that the kernels evenly coat the bottom of it. Allow the kernels to pop for a few minutes or until the popping slows.

3.) As the kernels pop, melt your butter over the stove or in the microwave. Stir the cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and salt into the butter until it is thoroughly mixed.

4.) Remove the popcorn from the stove and pour it into a large bowl. Drizzle the spicy butter over the popcorn and enjoy!

 

Warm Gingerbread Latte

 

Lots of people enjoy drinking specialty beverages during the harsh winter months. This rich and sweet gingerbread latte is a perfectly-portioned indulgent treat for satisfying your holiday sweet-tooth.

 

Time: 2 minutes

Makes: 1 mug

 

Ingredients:

- 3 tablespoons of strong coffee

- 1 cup of milk or milk alternative (almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.)

- 2 teaspoons of molasses (regular or blackstrap)

- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

- 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger

- To taste: sugar or sweetener of your choice

 

Instructions:

1.) Take all of your ingredients and mix them together in a small pot or mug.

2.) Heat the mixture until it is warm or hot.

3.) For a foamier latte, mix the spices directly into the coffee. Heat the milk in your microwave or or on your stove. Pour this frothy milk over your coffee and enjoy!

 

In Conclusion:

There are dozens of easy holiday snacks you can prepare for yourself and your friends, family, and coworkers. A bowl of toasted and lightly-sweetened nuts is a good way to satisfy your craving for a sugary snack. "Broccomole," a surprisingly creamy guacamole alternative, has roughly 1/3 of the calories of the traditional dip and twice as much protein. Cheese platters, olives, and pickles are also simple yet wholesome snacks. Whether you crave a sweet treat or a mouth-watering savory snack, there's surely a recipe out there for you.

 

Are you feeling hungry yet? Prepare one of these tasty holiday snacks in the weeks to come!

 

Photo: (c) san_ta / fotolia.com

Editor, 08.12.2016

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